Greg Vaughn (Kennedy High School, Sacramento City College) is the Sacramento area’s only two-time minor-league MVP.
Vaughn, a four-time major-league All-Star outfielder, was the Midwest League MVP in 1987 with the Class-A Beloit (Wis.) Brewers. In 1989, he earned the American Association MVP honor with the Triple-A Denver Zephyrs.
At each of his stops in the minors, Vaughn was a prodigious home run hitter, moving from the Helena (Mont.) Gold Sox in the rookie Pioneer League to Beloit to the El Paso (Texas) Diablos in the Double-A Texas League to Denver. He spent one year in each location and hit 16, 33, 28 and 26 home runs, respectively.
Vaughn made his major-league debut Aug. 10, 1989, with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1998, he was National League Comeback Player of the Year and won a Silver Slugger Award with the San Diego Padres. In his 15 seasons, he had three seasons with more than 100 RBIs, scored more than 100 runs twice and had at least 30 homers four times, capped by a 50-homer season in 1998.
Vaughn, 50, now an assistant coach at Bradshaw Christian High School, holds the major-league record for home runs by a player whose last name begins with “V” (355) beating out his cousin Mo Vaughn (328) and Robin Ventura (294). Including his 115 homers in the minors, he has the most homers (470) by a pro baseball player from the Sacramento region.
Another of Vaughn’s cousins is former major-league player, coach and manager Jerry Royster (Sacramento High), and his son, Cory Vaughn (Jesuit), plays for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s in the New York Mets’ organization.
The Sacramento area has had 11 minor-league MVPs. The first was in 1934, when Los Angeles Angels outfielder Frank Demaree (Winters) won the Pacific Coast League Triple Crown with a .383 batting average, 45 home runs and 173 RBIs. Tucson (Ariz.) Toros outfielder James Mouton (Burbank), in 1993, was the only other area player to win the PCL award.
470 Greg Vaughn’s combined homer total in the majors and minors
Four players were named MVP in the California League: Santa Barbara Saints third baseman Spider Jorgensen (Folsom, Sacramento Junior College), 1941; Fresno Cardinals third baseman Tommy Glaviano (Sacramento), 1946; Stockton Ports second baseman Ed Samcoff (Woodland), 1947; and Modesto Reds outfielder Leron Lee (Grant) in 1967.
Southern League MVPs went to Knoxville (Tenn.) Sox outfielder Nyls Nyman (Cordova) in 1974 and Memphis (Tenn.) Chicks first baseman Derrek Lee (El Camino) in 1996. Other MVPs included San Antonio Dodgers second baseman Steve Sax (James Marshall) in the Texas League in 1981 and Durham (N.C.) Bulls catcher Toby Hall (El Dorado, American River) in the International League in 2001.
▪ Last Sunday, Lancaster JetHawks third baseman J.D. Davis (Elk Grove) became the fourth hitter in the minors this season to reach 100 RBIs.
In a 19-2 California League win against Lake Elsinore, Davis drove in a career-best six runs. He had a two-run double in the first inning, belted a solo homer in the third, singled in a run in the seventh and hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
“I wasn’t expecting to get 100 RBIs,” Davis told MiLB.com. “My real goal at the beginning of the year was to try to get 80-85 and try to do as much as I can with runners in scoring position. I think learning from the early failures in the season has helped me with the success that’s going on right now.”
▪ Salem Red Sox shortstop Mauricio Dubon (Capital Christian) had 11 games with two or more hits in Carolina League play in August. He also scored a career-high four runs in a three-hit game against Potomac on Aug. 28.
“I’ve been making adjustments, and every day I try to get used to the pitching,” Dubon told MiLB.com. “Some days are good and some are bad. That’s just how it’s always going to be. I just don’t try to get my head messed up.”
▪ Catcher Bryan Case (Winters, Cosumnes River) was added to the River Cats’ roster by the Giants despite playing in just five games in the rookie Arizona League. The 23-year-old was drafted in the 27th round out of Oklahoma State.
▪ Right-hander Mitch Lively (Sacramento State) is playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Pacific League in Japan.
6 Career-high RBI game for Lancaster JetHawks third baseman J.D. Davis
▪ Former minor-league right-hander Raymond Hernandez (Elk Grove, Cosumnes River), brother of Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander David Hernandez (Elk Grove, Cosumnes River), has been named CRC’s pitching coach for the 2016 season, replacing former major-league left-hander Brad Kilby (Laguna Creek).
Mark McDermott is a freelance writer specializing in Sacramento-area baseball. Contact him at email@example.com.
The final regular-season statistics for players from the Sacramento area will be published Sept. 13.
Minor-league MVPs from Sacramento area
Los Angeles (Pacific Coast-AAA)
El Dorado, American River
Folsom, Sacramento JC
Santa Barbara (California-A)
Tucson (Pacific Coast-AAA)
San Antonio (Texas-AA)
Kennedy, Sacramento City
Denver (American Assn.-AAA)